Ironworkers (reinforcing) cut, bend, lay out, place and weld reinforcing steel rods, welded wire fabric and composite materials in a wide variety of poured concrete products and structures such as buildings, highways, bridges, stadiums and towers. They also place and stress various post-tensioning systems in structures such as parking garages, bridges and stadiums where longer unsupported spans are required. Ironworkers (reinforcing) unload fabricated or straight reinforcing materials and place it for hoisting as needed. While the reinforcing material is usually pre-cut and fabricated off-site, ironworkers (reinforcing) may be called upon to cut and bend them according to design specifications and drawings. Ironworkers (reinforcing) may pre-assemble reinforcing material by laying it out and connecting sub-assemblies on the ground prior to final placement. They organize the hoisting of the components by connecting cables and slings to the components and directing crane operators. They position, align and secure components according to drawings, using a variety of methods. After placing post-tensioning systems, they stress the tendons to predetermined specifications using hydraulic jacks and pumps.
Ironworkers (reinforcing) work outside in all weather. They may also work in underground work sites. They work in a variety of locations ranging from remote areas where they could work on dams, bridges or mining projects, to urban environments where they could work on high-rise buildings, parking garages, transit systems, tunnels or stadiums. The work may require that they be away from home for extended periods of time. The work often requires considerable standing, bending, crawling, lifting, climbing, pulling and reaching and is often conducted in cramped, confined spaces or at heights. Hazards include injury from electrocution, falls or falling objects.
Ironworkers (reinforcing) are required to have good mechanical aptitude, the ability to visualize finished products in three dimensions, and the ability to work at heights in varying extreme climates. A thorough knowledge of the principles of lifting and hoisting is required as is a familiarity with a variety of metal fastening and joining methods. All ironworkers (reinforcing) are required to be competent in the use and care of a variety of hand and power tools and equipment such as tying tools, pry bars, jacks, torches, cutoff saws, hydraulic benders, shears, welding equipment, stressing equipment and cranes. Because of the nature of the work, a primary concern of the ironworkers (reinforcing) is workplace safety; therefore ironworkers (reinforcing) must be thoroughly familiar with the applicable sections of local, provincial and federal building and safety codes.
Ironworkers (reinforcing) tend to work in teams, and team coordination is a large component of the occupation especially when hoisting and placing large, heavy components high above the ground. Ironworkers (reinforcing) interact and work cooperatively with a wide variety of construction tradespeople such as ironworkers (structural/ornamental), crane operators, steel detailers, welders, carpenters, concrete finishers and metal fabricators.
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